Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Cambodia (our guides and the floating village)

I want to start by saying our tour guides in Cambodia were amazing.  They were so excited to show us around Angkor Wat, Siem Reap and the surrounding areas.  They were extremely knowledgable and told us many stories that gave us background on the area.

A topic we thought would be touchy and off limits was the genocide that went on in Cambodia but they all wanted to share their stories, they were all an age in which they were able to recall everything and all of them had been in a work camp and they all believed they were the lucky ones having made it out.

One of the guides was about 12 years old when we got malaria, he was taken to the hospital and while he was there his entire village either starved to death or were killed by the Khmer Rouge, there was no medicine to be had so each day in the hospital he was given a small piece of potato and sugar cube as "medicine".  When he got better he was put in a work camp and despite the odds survived.  All of our guides had stories like this, and they weren't telling us for us to feel bad, they look at themselves as lucky and are happy almost all the time, I've never seen people smile so much.

The area around Angkor Wat is a little different then most of Cambodia, tourism feeds the economy and people are quiet well off.  So our guides took us outside the area to get an idea of "real" Cambodia.  We took a boat out on the lake to see a floating village.  It was amazing there were floating food stores, schools, church, and police station...
Little girl floating around her village

One of the many floating villages on this lake

A mother and child on the way home from the food store

Floating Police Station

The sticks to the right were used to fix boats

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